Category Archives: Science

A Great New Book from Ol’ Hambo

We found this at the website of Answers in Genesis, the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo). As you know, he’s the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

Their article says it’s a press release, so you know it’s important. It’s titled America’s Culture Divide Examined by Ken Ham in New Book. [Ooooooooooooh! A new book by Hambo!] Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

With America fracturing even more across political, racial, cultural, and even religious lines, Ken Ham’s latest book Divided Nation shares how the Church can regain a position of influence in reaching people with truth. Whether it’s racism, gay “marriage,” abortion, climate change, evolution, etc., Ham presents biblical answers.

This is really exciting! Hey — we found the book at Amazon: Divided Nation. Let’s stay with the press release, which says:

With the subtitle “Cultures in Chaos and a Conflicted Church,” Ham’s book recognizes that an accelerating division is happening throughout America. [Gasp!] Western culture, he writes, is becoming more secularized and anti-Christian, with religious persecution [Persecution?] against Christians on the rise.

The world needs this book! The press release tells us:

With a new administration in Washington, Ham declares that Christians must now be bolder than ever in engaging the culture regarding hot-button topics like abortion and gay “marriage.” He also urges believers to learn how to communicate in a loving way so that teaching from the Bible does not come across as hate speech. [Hee hee!]

The press release continues:

Ham offers Christian families and churches a biblical mandate to awaken and become major influencers in today’s turbulent culture. [A biblical mandate!] He urges the Church’s next generation to take a bold stand regardless of increasing religious persecution and encourages families and churches to train young people in biblical truth. Ham ultimately calls for a new Reformation [Egad!] that will get Christians back to the authority [Authority!] of the Word of God beginning in Genesis.

Hambo is so courageous! Let’s read on:

Ham is well known outside Christendom for the highly popular Ark Encounter themed attraction (with a full-size 510-foot-long Noah’s Ark), the high-tech Creation Museum, and his famous debate in 2014 with Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” watched conservatively by at least 25 million people. Ham is the author or co-author of more than 25 books, covering such varied topics as dinosaurs, racism, raising a godly family, and evolution vs. creation.

Verily, Hambo is the greatest man alive! Here’s our last excerpt:

Heavily illustrated with colorful artwork, Divided Nation is published by Master Books, a division of New Leaf Press, and at 160 pages retails for $15.99. The book’s illustrations are free for the public to use and can be retrieved at [link omitted].

Okay, dear reader. You know what you gotta do. Get yourself a copy of ol’ Hambo’s book. And when you place your order, tell ’em the Curmudgeon sent ya!

Copyright © 2021. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

Animal Rights and the Discoveroids

This just appeared at the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute: New York High Court to Rule Whether Elephants Are “Persons”. It was written by Wesley J. Smith, whom they describe as a “Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.”

We’ve written a few times before about animal rights cases — for example: Oook, Oook — Chimps Lose in Appellate Court. Wesley seems to have made the subject a specialty of his, and in his article he cites a great many cases — more than we can study for this article, so we’ll do the best we can. Here are some excerpts from his post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

The greatest threat posed by the animal-rights movement is an advocacy thrust known as “animal standing” The idea is to have animals declared “persons” and treated akin to human beings with developmental disabilities so that “they” can bring lawsuits in court directly, which of course would actually be brought by animal-rights zealots. That would grant “rights” to animals — first, those sometimes called “higher” mammals, chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, etc. — but eventually all fauna.

Then he says:

When I bring this up in speeches, the usual reaction is eye-rolling, “Ha ha. It will never happen here.” Never mind that it already happened in Argentina, where a judge declared an orangutan a “nonhuman person.” Never mind that a federal court ruled that animals could be granted standing under the U.S. Constitution. [Really?] Never mind that Judge Eugene M. Fahey — of the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court — wrote that chimps should be given rights in a non-binding opinion (dicta). And never mind the money and intensity of the animal-rights movement to shatter what they call “the species barrier.” Complacency rules the day.

There were several links in that paragraph. If the topic interests you, click over there and dig in. After that ark-load, Wesley tells us:

The New York Court of Appeals has taken a case to determine whether an elephant, and perhaps other animals, should be deemed “persons.”

He quotes extensively from something that mentions a lot of cases, but without linking to them. The one he’s talking about seems to be In the matter of Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. v. Breheny, Case No. APL-2021-00087. Anyway, Wesley continues:

Does this mean the court will necessarily grant personhood to an elephant? No. But it does indicate that a number of high court judges believe the case is of sufficient substance to rule upon rather than — as the court should — laugh the case out of court.

Then he says something that’s difficult to disagree with:

Of course elephants should be treated properly according to their capacities and needs. But animal-welfare regulations and laws are very capable of accomplishing that. Animals should not be granted rights.

Animal welfare and animal rights are not the same. Rights ideology claims that “a rat, is a pig, is a dog, is a boy,” meaning there is no moral distinction between humans and animals. In contrast, animal welfare properly holds that humans have a higher moral value, and, that as we benefit from their use, we have a concomitant duty to treat animals humanely.

Wesley elaborates on that:

That distinction is crucial. Animal welfare is an expression of human exceptionalism. Animal rights, in contrast, subverts human exceptionalism — the backbone of universal human rights — and threatens our thriving. Because if animals are persons, by definition, they cannot be owned, nor used for human benefit. That means no medical research, no food animals, no leather, and eventually, pet ownership made a formal legal guardianship complete with enforceable fiduciary duties — that is, if we can have pets at all.

He’s got a point there. It’s uncomfortable to be in agreement with so much that a Discoveroid is saying. Wesley ends with this:

Let’s hope the Court of Appeals rejects the animal personhood notion out of hand. Until they do, I will be holding my breath. Because we live in culture-destroying times and this is as subversive of Western civilization as it gets.

We should point out an earlier post of ours from-2014 regarding abuse of an elephant: A Gruesome Tale of Elephant Abuse. In that post we mentioned our own concept for dealing with such cases, which we’ll repeat here because we still like it:

[Y]our infinitely compassionate Curmudgeon opposes cruelty to animals, so we’ve struggled to find some way to logically defend our desire to punish animal abusers, even if their victims have no rights. If an idea has value, there must be a way to justify it that doesn’t rely on merely our feelings. After rejecting the notion that animals have rights, we decided that it was nevertheless justifiable to punish abusers because their behavior constitutes conduct unbecoming a human (a concept that has potential, but which requires a bit of work). Inhuman conduct offends us, and we’re the ones with rights, so we can punish the wrong-doer.

We’ll end with that. Make of it what you will.

Copyright © 2021. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

Eclipses and Intelligent Design — for Children

We posted seven different times about the Discovery Institute’s claim that eclipses of the Sun are rock-solid evidence for their “theory” of intelligent design. The last time was a year ago — Eclipse Mania — The Discoveroids, Part 7 — and it links to our earlier posts on the subject.

The “science” for the Discoveroids’ claims about this usually comes from Jay W. Richards, a Discoveroid senior fellow, and his co-author Guillermo Gonzalez, or “Gonzo” as we call him. He’s also a Discoveroid senior fellow Together they wrote the classic creationist book, The Privileged Planet, a “fine tuning” argument applied to Earth.

Today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog they just posted Eclipse Miracle — An ID Book for Children. [Ooooooooooooh! An intelligent design book for children!], and it was written by non other than Gonzo himself. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

I received a pleasant surprise in my office mail last week. The author and illustrator of a children’s book, Eclipse Miracle: The Sun Is the Same Size as the Moon in the Sky [Amazon link], sent me a complimentary signed copy.

Creationist professional courtesy — how nice. We went to the Amazon link and discovered that the publisher was something named Hole in the Rock Publishing. We can’t find any information about them, so we’ll just continue with the Discoveroid post. Gonzo says:

In the enclosed letter, Sand Sheff [the book’s author] explained that he had just watched The Privileged Planet DVD with his family. [Thrilling!] He wrote, “It was the first scientific public mention I have ever heard of the profound reality of the sun/moon alignment.” Sand completed the book a few months prior to the great American solar eclipse of 2017. [Great timing!] He drove to towns along the path of totality to promote the message in his book.

It’s good to see an author so committed to his work. After that, Gonzo tells us:

It is encouraging to me that someone else came to the same basic conclusion about eclipses as I did following my observation of a total solar eclipse in India in 1995. [He may be the only one!] There aren’t very many children’s books about intelligent design. This is a welcome addition.

Verily, it’s an intellectual avalanche! Gonzo continues:

This week would be a good opportunity to discuss the “Eclipse Miracle” with your own children; sending the book as a gift would be a good idea too.

Why this week? Gonzo explains:

On June 10 an annular solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Canada just north of the Great Lakes. [Annular?]

Gonzo explains that term, and it’s the end of his post:

An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is a little too far away to completely cover the Sun in the sky. It’s called a “ring of fire” when seen at sunrise or sunset on the horizon.

Hey — wait a minute! If it’s not a perfect eclipse, then it can’t be evidence that we were designed to live on a perfect planet. In fact, it’s evidence that things aren’t perfect. What’s going on here?

Copyright © 2021. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

A Great New Argument for Intelligent Design

Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle

We were visiting the website of the Discovery Institute, and for some reason we thought of the Dung beetle — a splendid example of an insect that has evolved to thrive in its environment. We’ve written about them several times — see Dung Beetles Navigate by the Stars. That post links to a few others, including one you shouldn’t miss: Intelligent Design: The Dung Beetle’s Tale.

What was it at the Discoveroids’ website that made us think of that amazing creature? We’re not sure, but we noticed this new post at their creationist blog: Dominic Halsmer: Aesthetic Arguments for Intelligent Design. It’s very brief, and it has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

On a classic ID the Future episode [Ooooooooooooh! A Discoveroid podcast!], Dr. Dominic Halsmer [Who?], Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Oral Roberts University, continues a conversation with host Casey Luskin about Halsmer’s peer-reviewed paper “The Coherence of an Engineered World,” published in the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics.

Most of you have heard about Oral Roberts University, of which Halsmer is a dean. Wikipedia says it’s “a private evangelical university in Tulsa, Oklahoma.” But we’re not familiar with the journal that published Halsmer’s paper. Ah, Wikipedia mentions them in its article on Wessex Institute of Technology in England. Wikipedia says:

The Wessex Institute of Technology previously organised a conference on design and nature, whilst WIT Press publishes the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, which has attracted attention for the subject matter of some of the papers presented and published.

What attracted attention to that publication? Wikipedia continues:

Contributions to its 2004 International conference programme included a joint paper by Scott A. Minnich and Stephen C. Meyer [Hee hee!] reiterating claims disputing evolution of the bacterial flagellum. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!] The paper was cited in the landmark Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District legal case, being the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design. Doubts have been raised as to whether proper peer review has been followed for these conferences.

If you want to know the role played by the flagellum in the Kitzmiller case, see Kitzmiller v. Dover: Michael Behe’s Testimony.

Okay, we know who Halsmer is, and we know about the journal in which he published. Let’s return to the Discoveroids’ post, which tells us:

Dr. Halsmer explains some of the aesthetic arguments for design from beauty in science, engineering, and the study of humanity.

There are “aesthetic arguments” for the Discoveroids’ theory of intelligent design? We didn’t know that. This is exciting! What follows is the end of the Discoveroids’ post:

How do modularity, specificity, adaptability, durability, and other aspects of engineering systems argue for intelligent design in nature? [Good question!] To find out, download the podcast or listen to it here. [Link omitted!]

This looks like an impressive, heavyweight, peer-reviewed, scientific argument, dear reader. You’d better study up on it.

Copyright © 2021. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.